Gods get ugly over beautiful game

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The Independent Online

As we have not heard from the gods recently, it is about time we had a report from the United Deities, the all-god discussion group which meets regularly to monitor and scratch its head over human behaviour. This group not only includes gods who are worshipped today, but can be attended by any god who was worshipped in the past. Here are the minutes of the most recent meeting.

As we have not heard from the gods recently, it is about time we had a report from the United Deities, the all-god discussion group which meets regularly to monitor and scratch its head over human behaviour. This group not only includes gods who are worshipped today, but can be attended by any god who was worshipped in the past. Here are the minutes of the most recent meeting.

1. The chairgod opened the meeting by asking Allah if he and the Christian God had had any further meetings to discuss their differences.

2. Allah said he and the Christian God had no differences. It was commonly assumed gods had grudges against each other just because their followers did. If anything, gods were brought closer together by the hot-headed acts of their followers.

3. The Christian God agreed. If they had a grudge against anyone, it was against their followers.

4. Allah agreed. The Jewish God said he also agreed, and that when he saw what was going on in Israel, he sometimes despaired.

5. The Roman God of War, Mars, said he couldn't stand this wishy-washy agreement among gods. What was the point of a goody-goody consensus among gods while their followers slaughtered one another? Good for the supporters, he said! That was what war was about!

6. In the old days, said Mars, gods had vendettas against each other, which made life far more interesting! Not to mention goddesses with grievances, like Hera, who followed up all of her husband Zeus's infidelities on Earth by turning each seduced maiden into a star in the heavens.

7. In fact, said Mars, it was amazing to think humanity owed its night lighting to an old Greek god's inability to control his sexual urges ...

8. The chairgod said it was time to move on to the second item on the agenda, which was the outbreak in parts of Europe of the display of the flag of St George. There had been reports of this sacred symbol being flown all over England merely as a rallying sign for football fans.

9. Did anyone think that sacrilege was involved?

10. The Jewish God said that he thought the idea was absurd. What was holy about Catholic saints? What religion could be taken seriously if it relied so much on glorifying people whose only virtue was that they had been martyred? It was just a big marketing ploy. Sometimes people said the Jews were ruthless in business. Had these people ever looked at a Catholic souvenir stall? Oy veh!

11. The Catholic God said he tended to agree. He was as embarrassed by Catholic knick-knacks as many English people would be by the display of St George's flag. But he pointed out many crimes had been committed in poor old George's name.

12. For instance, this football tournament was taking place in Portugal. Did anyone know who the patron saint of Portugal was? St George, that was who! There was going to be a lot of St George's flags waved if England were ever drawn against Portugal!

13. Never mind about Portugal, said the chairgod. He had done some research and knew George was also patron of Lebanon, Gozo and Venice, and the patron saint of boy scouts, lepers, Palestinian Christians ...

14. Allah said it would be even more confusing if they all had football teams, like England and Portugal.

15. The Jewish God said he couldn't imagine the lepers having a football team.

16. The chairgod said this was getting nowhere, and could they discuss the next item, which was the timing of the next big earthquake.

Continued some other time, I hope.

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